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Modeling Non-Equilibrium Dynamics and Saturable ... - MDPI › publication › fulltext › Modeling-... › publication › fulltext › Modeling-...by K Hatada · ‎2017 · ‎Cited by 4 · ‎Related articlesAug 9, 2017 — temperature-dependent—that can be considered const

Modeling Non-Equilibrium Dynamics and Saturable Absorption Induced by Free Electron Laser Radiation Keisuke Hatada *,† and Andrea Di Cicco Physics Division, School of Science and Technology, University of Camerino, I-62032 Camerino (MC), Italy; [email protected] * Correspondence: [email protected] † Current address: Department Chemie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 81377 München, Germany Received: 31 May 2017; Accepted: 27 July 2017; Published: 9 August 2017

Abstract: Currently available X-ray and extreme ultraviolet free electron laser (FEL) sources provide intense ultrashort photon pulses. Those sources open new exciting perspectives for experimental studies of ultrafast non-equilibrium processes at the nanoscale in condensed matter. Theoretical approaches and computer simulations are being developed to understand the complicated dynamical processes associated with the interaction of FEL pulses with matter. In this work, we present the results of the application of a simplified three-channel model to the non-equilibrium dynamics of ultrathin aluminum films excited by FEL radiation at 33.3, 37 and 92 eV photon energy. The model includes semi-classical rate equations coupled with the equation of propagation of the photon wave packets. X-ray transmission measurements are found to be in agreement with present simulations, which are also able to shed light on temporal dynamics (in the fs range) in nano-sized Al films strongly interacting with the photon pulse. We also expanded our non-linear model, explicitly including the two-photon absorption cross-section and the effect of including electron heating for reproducing transmission measurements. Keywords: X-ray free electron laser; saturation phenomena; nonlinear optics

1. Introduction Over the past decade, X-ray and extreme ultraviolet free electron laser (FEL) sources have been developed, providing a source of extremely brilliant and ultrafast photon pulses. The present facilities include FELs in the extreme ultra-violet (EUV) and soft X-ray ranges such as FLASH (Hamburg) [1] and [email protected] (Trieste) [2], and in the hard X-ray range such asLCLS (Stanford) [3], SACLA (Spring-8) [4], and the European XFEL (presently under construction, Hamburg). Typically, FEL photon pulses show durations in the 10–100 fs range, contain a large number of photons (1010 –1015 ) with a limited wavelength band width, depending on the pulse generation mechanism. Using suitable optics, the pulse spot dimensions can be reduced to 10–100 µm2 or less. In such extreme conditions, pulse fluences can exceed 100 J/cm2 , leading to the observation of non-linear optical processes in condensed matter such as saturation phenomena, two photon absorption, ultrafast electron, and lattice heating (see [5] and the references therein). Non-linear effects are quite familiar in optical laser science, while in the EUV and X-ray energy regime, investigations are still in development both experimentally and theoretically. There are several differences among the optical laser and EUV/X-ray radiation interaction with matter, including the penetration depth, the energy deposited, and the lifetime of the excited states. An important feature is exactly the latter, because for X-ray excitations, the lifetime of the excited state is in the femtosecond range (core–hole lifetime). Intense and ultrashort FEL pulses allow us to perform experiments for which the pulse width is of the same order of the core–hole lifetime at fluences for which non-linear effects are not negligible. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 814; doi:10.3390/app7080814

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Different techniques are used at FEL facilities, including transmission and scattering experiments and pump-and-probe studies using two ultrashort pulses (optical or X-ray). In many cases, simplified approaches are used for modeling the interaction process, basically neglecting the finite time widths and spatial dimensions of the pulses. Although efficient collisional-radiative codes describing dense plasma states are currently available (SCFLY, see [6] and references therein), the complicated dynamical processes associated with the interaction of matter with photon pulses are usually not taken into explicit account. For FEL ultrashort pulses and nanoscale materials, the finite dimensions are expected to play a role, and a detailed modeling of the dynamical pulse–matter interaction appears to be necessary. In particular, reliable theoretical models are needed both for a solid interpretation of the experimental data (transmission, scattering, and so on) and for modeling the evolution of the sample status during the excitation process (transient conditions, local temperature). In principle, transmission measurements are probably the easiest and cleanest experiments that can be performed using FEL radiation, but they also imply several important difficulties to be overcome both for their practical realization and interpretation of results. The importance of developing proper models can be appreciated by looking first